The Itchy Onion – | Review Score – 4/5
There’s No China in the Bible – | Review Score – 4/5
John Chinaman – | Review Score – 4/5
The White Mountain – | Review Score – 4/5
The Blood and the Sh*t – | Review Score – 5/5
Chewed Up, Spit Out, and Stepped On – | Review Score – 4/5
The Tiger and the Fox – | Review Score – 4/5
They Don’t Pay Us Enough to Think – | Review Score – 4/5
Chinese Boxing – | Review Score – 4.5/5
If You’re Going to Bow, Bow Low – | Review Score – 4.5/5
Cinemax’s latest action thriller, Warrior, is very good. Although it’s bound to draw some comparisons to Peaky Blinders for its gang-centric storyline, Warrior marches to the beat of its own drum and is all the stronger for it.
Combining well choreographed fights, political scheming and a volatile 1870’s San Francisco setting, Warrior does well to keep things interesting and unpredictable throughout its 10 episodes.
With the Hop Wei and Long Zii gangs on the brink of war, Ah Sahm arrives on the shores of San Francisco, determined to find his sister Mai Ling. Unbeknownst to him, she’s mixed up with the Long Zii while Ah Sahm himself is recruited to the Hop Wei following some impressive fighting at the dock.
From here, the story sees the two gangs dancing around the prospect of war until a catalyst for the drama causes all hell to break loose. While the Chinese are at one another’s throats, a volatile wild card appears in the form of Leary and his Irish gang, angry at the Irish jobs being given to the migrant Chinese. Stitched together with political scheming, crooked cops and plenty of action, Warrior remains highly enjoyable throughout its 10 episodes.
Honouring the memory of Bruce Lee, Warrior has some great fights dotted throughout its run-time. From a Western-inspired brawl in a bar (which is easily the stand-out episode here) to an all-out brawl between the two gangs, Warrior keeps things interesting with a variety of different fights. Warrior also does a great job subverting expectations too, with one fight in particular causing the balance of power to shift in a surprising direction. The choreography is fantastic throughout these segments which helps and at times would certainly give some martial arts films a run for their money.
Unfortunately Warrior does slip up a little with its dialogue. Those looking for a poetically flowing, memorable script will certainly be left wanting. At times the scripts are a little simplistic with the dialogue, peppered with some cliched one-liners and plenty of threats ending with a character walking off. It does feel a tad cartoony at times but if you can look past this and take to the story and characters, Warrior is a lot of fun.
With a second season already green-lit, Warrior sets all the pieces up nicely for the second act of this gang-centric thriller. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, action-packed show full of fighting and drama you can’t really go wrong with this one. The volatile, realistically depicted 1870’s setting helps keep things feeling fresh and although this will almost certainly draw comparisons to Peaky Blinders, Warrior is different enough to carve its own unique slice of the pie. It’s brutal, full of action and exciting, making it one of the biggest surprises of the year.
Verdict - 8.5/10